Best Microphone for Recording Vocals

Are you a musician who is just getting started with home recording or perhaps you are getting ready to take your guitar and hit the road looking for some clubs to perform in?

If this sounds like you, you’re probably discovering that you need a certain base level of equipment to get started. In both cases, one of the first things you will need for example is a good quality microphone such as the Shure KSM27 or some other mic that will suit your needs.

In this article, we will go over some of the basic qualities and features that you should be aware of when shopping for a microphone to fit your needs as a musician.

Shure KSM141 Multi Pattern Studio Condenser Microphone

The Shure KSM141 is a dual polar pattern end-addressed condenser microphone that is designed for use in the recording studio, yet sturdy enough to withstand live performances with ease and great quality!

The extended frequency response and low self-noise levels make the Shure KSM141 a perfect mic for recording many different types of musical instruments.

Potential Performance Applications for the Shure KSM141 Include:

  • Various acoustic instruments: strings, piano, percussion, drums and guitar
  • Various ensemble performances: orchestra or choral performances
  • Lower frequency instruments: kick drum, double bass and electric bass
  • Wind instruments: woodwind and brass
  • Picking up room ambiance: drums or guitar amps
  • Overhead mic usage: for percussion or drums, for example

Features of the Shure KSM141:

  • Great flexibility in a wide variety of recording applications and capabilities
  • Includes a mechanical polar pattern switch for incredibly uniform cardioid and true omnidirectional polar patterns
  • Includes the highest quality electronic components, including gold-plated internal and external connectors
  • Incredible transient response due to the ultra-thin, 2.5 micron, 24 karat gold-layered, low mass Mylar diaphragm
  • Class A, discrete, transformerless preamplifier for minimal harmonic and intermodulation distortion, transparency, no crossover distortion, and extremely fast transient response
  • Subsonic filter eliminates low frequency rumble (less than 17 Hz) caused by mechanical vibration
  • 3 position switchable pad (0 dB, 15 dB, and 25 dB) for handling extremely high sound pressure levels (SPLs)
  • 3 position switchable low-frequency filter to counteract proximity effect and lessen background noise
  • Extended frequency response
  • Low self noise
  • Superior reproduction of low-frequency sounds
  • Able to withstand high sound pressure levels (SPL)
  • High output level
  • No crossover distortion
  • Has uniform polar response
  • Premium suppression of radio frequency interference and common mode rejection

Shure KSM141 Specifications:

  • Type of Cartridge:  Permanently Biased Condenser
  • Directional Polar Pattern: Cardioid/Omnidirectional
  • Frequency Response Used: 20-20,000 Hz
  • Phantom Power: 48 Vdc+/- 4 Vdc (IEC-C268-C15/DIN 45 596), positive pins 2 and 3
  • Low Frequency Response Switch: Flat; -6 db/octave below 115 Hz; -18 dB/octave below 80 Hz
  • Current Drain: 4.65 mA typical at 48 Vdc
  • Output Impedance: 150 Ohms (actual)
  • Attenuation Switch: 0 dB,15 dB, or 25 dB attenuation
  • Polarity: Positive pressure on diaphragm produces positive voltage on output pin 2 relative to pin 3
  • Sensitivity (typical, at 1000 Hz; 1 Pa = 94 dB SPL): -37 dBV/Pa
  • Self-noise (typical, equivalent SPL; A-weighted (IEC 651)): 14 dB
  • Maximum SPL: 5000 Ohm load: 145 (160, 170) dB, 2500 Ohm load (Attenuator on): 139 (154, 164) dB, 1000 Ohm load: 134 (149, 159) dB
  • Output Clipping Level: 5000 Ohm load: 15 dBV, 2500 Ohm load: 9 dBV, 1000 Ohm load: 3 dBV
  • Dynamic Range: 5000 Ohm load: 131 dB, 2500 Ohm load: 125 dB, 1000 Ohm load: 120 dB
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 80 dB
  • Shure KSM141 Dimensions: .8 inches (20 mm) in diameter, 5.75 inches (146 mm) in length
  • Shure KSM141 Weight: 5.5.ounces (156 grams)
  • Warranty: 2 Yr Microphones; 1 Year Wireless Transmitters & Receivers

Buying the Best Mics for Recording Vocals

One of the first things that you’ll need to be aware of is the environment where you will be using the microphone most frequently.

Mics react differently in various spaces and you will want a certain kind of microphone for a live performance in big locations versus home recording within your smaller studio space.
Typically a condenser microphone such as the Shure KSM141, would be great for a recording studio setting because it does a good job picking up vocals with accuracy. These types of mics are also great for recording instruments in the studio. Condenser microphones tend to have a flatter frequency than dynamic mics which are much less sensitive.

Dynamic microphones would be the better choice for live performance settings typically as they are more adaptable to the increased noise levels and interference from outside sources. This type of mic does not require phantom power typically which is often not the case when it comes to condenser microphones. You will need to go for some gain on your preamp, however, in order to get decent levels while using the dynamic microphone.

If you are recording acoustic instruments such as guitars, this will require a different set-up altogether when it comes to microphones. Oftentimes, you will find that a mix of microphones work best with your instruments and particularly with acoustic instruments to be able to pick up all of the subtle sounds and such.

Microphones for use with drumming is yet another animal altogether. You will definitely want to do your research when it comes to finding the best mic situation for your drums. The most important thing will be the ability for your mic to handle a high sound pressure level. If you do not have this covered, you will definitely be faced with a large distortion level.

Whether you choose the KSM141 or some other type of condenser microphone for your recording studio or live performances, do take the time to do some research on the front end before making your decision. Looks at the different manufactures that come up when searching to determine some of the bigger and more popular brands with the market. Going with any microphone from Shure is certain to be a good choice as this is a brand that many people have come to know and trust as one of the better companies to buy from.